I feel I should preface this post by explaining that I went for a walk before sitting down to write it.
When I walk I almost always come home energized and ready to work. And when I walk on the beach, like I did this morning, I’m practically chomping at the bit to do something big as soon as I can get my itchy fingers on a computer keyboard.
I’m working on a couple projects right now, both of which are in their infancy. But those were not on my mind this morning—instead the rhythmic sound of the waves, the seabirds, and the wind worked together to sharpen my focus on something else: pushing boundaries, getting out of my comfort zone, and doing something different.
And that’s what this blog post is about. Drum roll…I’ve decided to write a short story.
I am not a short story writer. Short stories terrify me. Anything that can be said in 5,000 words can just as easily be said in 80,000, as far as I’m concerned. If you are a short story writer, kudos to you. You do something I think is so hard that I cannot even comprehend where to start. But I’m going to try. If you subscribe to Writer’s Digest, you may have noticed that the most recent issue is about short-story writing. Though I haven’t had a chance to sit down and read the articles yet, I intend to study and make use of them.
But that’s not all: I am also going to issue you a challenge. What scares you about writing? What are you most afraid to try? Maybe you are terrified of poetry. Maybe you don’t know the first thing about writing non-fiction. Maybe memoir is not your thing.
And who doesn't love a challenge?
The challenge is to do one of those scary things. Writing things that we’re not accustomed to, that scare us, can be a good thing. It can give our current writing a keener edge, it can expand our writing chops, it can get us out of a possible rut and refresh us. It could even be the beginning of something we find exciting and fun. Who knows? Maybe you’re a fiction writer who will find a love of penning poems. Maybe you’re a technical writer and you’ll find that you’re a natural at writing horror stories.
The point is to get out there and discover those things for yourself. I’ve challenged myself to enter a short story contest by July 1st. I’ll let you know what happens.
What do you think? What are you willing to try?